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Friday, 22 January 2016

Days of decluttering....

As sure as eggs is eggs, in January my thoughts turn to self improvement.  I must be tidier, I must do this or that....and when it comes to tidying,  I've been thinking about it a lot.

Stuck indoors for the past week, I realise what a slut I am when it comes to being tidy. Being here 24/7 I can actually see things...and the piles of things that are lying around.

At the end of last year, I came across a book called the Life changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo in a local charity shop. Marie is now being treated as a guru in some quarters and she's all over the media like a rash.

Her book is an interesting read, with promises of life changing experiences if you declutter according to her principles. "When you put your house in order, you put your past in order too. As a result you see quite clearly what you need in life and do what you don't , what you could and shouldn't do."

Mmnn, am I ready for that? This is the woman who took 240 bin bags of stuff from a clients house. Was here anything left? She tidies by category  and virtually tells you to get rid of anything that does not bring you joy. When you tidying by category, eg clothes, you must empty each drawer, each wardrobe, you must put everything on the floor, and then pick up each item and ask yourself , "Does this bring me joy?

I tried just after Christmas, starting with my drawers. No, nothing in my knickers, bras and socks drawers brought me any joy, and  I dutifully got rid of all the unmatched socks, the bras that had gone grey and the smalls that had lost their twang. So far, so good, but I can'tt face the horrors lurking in my wardrobe. Perhaps later, when I've had some more practice.

Anyway, the other day I was ready to tackle the kitchen. With apologies to Marie, I knew I wouldn't be able to get everything done all at once. Slowly but surely , doing a little bit, then having a sit down were my watchwords.

The spice cupboard was the first to get the Kondo treatment. Everything in the overflowing dresser was taken off the shelves and out of the cupboards so they could all be cleaned..

Oh dear...I was creating havoc elsewhere too....and how had I got so much in such a small dresser?

Was that sumac really a year out of date? Oh, I could have sworn I only bought that garam masala a few months ago.Why did I have three jars of paprika?

But now my darlings, every spice is back  in alphabetical order ...savouries on the top shelf, baking and sweet spices on the middle shelf, and even the cupboards were tidy, with all the expresso cups washed and ready for use.

And once again this little dresser is looking lovely as well as being extremely useful.

This was made by a good family friend way back when,  for my daughters fifth or sixth birthday. Reg, a former commander in the Royal Navy had retired, and in addition to making his own steam railway in his back garden, was meticulously making beautiful miniature pieces of pine furniture for his grandchildren.

Emily his granddaughter had one, my nieces Katie and Heidi had one, and then Lucy. She loved it, and it was great fun buying old fashioned china dolls tea cups and saucers to put on the shelves .

Obviously she outgrew playing tea parties, although in my flights of fancy , I now wonder this sewed the seeds of what she does now....she's a café owner  making cakes and food and serving everything on vintage crockery.

Anyway, this dresser gives me joy, and am hoping that Lucy doesn't rediscover its joy either. She might want it back.

Now all the detritus , is off the worktop there I can see another thing that gives me joy.

My old school brass bell which rings with such a satisfying clang. That's had a polish too, and it sits where its been for years. I don't have that much cause to use it these days .

 Back in the day when  my three children were playing in the fields at the back of the house, or in the treehouse, I could shout until I was blue in the face, and they couldn't hear me.

Children, like husbands, are frequently selectively deaf. They had no excuse when I used to ring the bell.

Facing  the dresser is the work top which for months has been invisible. As soon as anyone comes in through the kitchen door, they deposit stuff there. Hats, gloves,loose change, papers, post, you name it, the pile of doom had  risen to the point, where I just couldn't look at it.

But now, .....

Elsewhere in the kitchen, there has been progress, although I use so much of the paraphanalia, and much of it sits on display because its being used all the time. But, I am trying
and have removed quite a bit. This now means my scales from an old sweet shop aren't hiding behind plates, a platter, and various other odds and sods, and the old glass sweet jars I bought soon after I got married , are also on full display.


This is obviously a work in progress...there s so much more to do, especially when I live with two men. My son and my husband in case you're wondering.

I may be untidy, but they're stubborn when it comes to clutter and items kept where they shouldn't be. In their case, this is big clutter. My husband, I kid you not, has been keeping his golf clubs in the downstairs shower room for the last two weeks, refusing to move them. Likewise, the exercise bike which suddenly took up residence in the sitting room before Christmas, and the three 15 litre  tins of exterior paint which arrived in the dining room  during  the summer, have not been removed.

I don't know what Marie Kondo would do with the men in my life. But, she's harsh...her strategy is to get rid of most things....without sentiment, without regret and without mercy. She even sold some of her family's belongings under their noses when she was younger, as the house wasn't tidy enough. Oh, and she talks to her belongings that are actually allowed to stay.

 I will keep you informed of developments.



  1. Bridget, I can't fully take in your wonderful blog post until you solve an issue for me. Do you have massive spice jars and Oxo cube boxes - or is than a tiny dresser?? It's like an optical illusion that is bending both my and Monica's brains on this early Saturday morning! B x

  2. It's a miniature dresser on my kitchen worktop! Hadnt thought that it was an optical illusion and sorry to bend your brains!